Jim Ross Discusses TNA’s Future, Brock Lesnar’s Injuries, UFC as WWE Competition, More
Posted by Larry Csonka on 09.01.2014
See what JR has to say...
- Jim Ross recently spoke about TNA's future, the UFC as competition to WWE and more. Here are the highlights…
Thoughts on TNA: "Well they have to find a North American cable television partner. They gotta find it by the 1st of the year because that's when there extension with Spike ends. So they have to find that partner that pays them enough rights fees to help pay their bills. They can't make, it I don't think – that's my assumptions – I am assuming that TNA Impact wrestling cannot survive long term, simply on the money they earn outside the United States or outside North America. It's just not there to pay their bills, and other than that, they're gonna have to do some retooling on their business model and they're gonna have to work on their budget. So if they don't have that money, I think it's imperative that they get an North American cable outlet that pays them enough money to help them keep their doors open. And I hope that they succeed. They have a potential to be a good brand. I think they have a very variable talent roaster, but I would put it in terms this way, some of them are cast wrong if you wanna use a showbiz term. They're in the wrong rolls, and using an American Football term I think they're running the wrong system. Their talents aren't being used to fit the talent's strengths. But I have a lot of friends that work there and I hope they get a second chance and that they succeed in the future. TNA's gotta change the way they present their product if they do get in a new environment, and if they do, they have to become the alternative to the WWE and not be compared as a ‘WWE lite' comparison."
On if Brock Lesnar's injuries in Pro Wrestling contributed to his MMA career being short along with the Diverticulitis: "I think the big issue in Brock's UFC career was Diverticulitis and Diverticulosis, his stomach issues where he almost died. I think that was the biggest culprit of all. The only concussion that I'm aware that I can recall – and I hired Brock Lesnar, and I recruited Brock Lesnar, and I managed him his entire run in the WWE – was at Wrestlemania 19 where he tried to do the shooting star press and he landed on his head while wrestling Kurt Angle. That was a very serious miscalculation. He should never have tried the move in hindsight. Those who gave him advice to do it were wrong and he had been nailing it off-Broadway so to speak, but I don't think the alleged litany of concussions or his WWE injuries had any bearing whatsoever on his UFC run."
If JR believes the WWE and the UFC are competitors in any way: "I think that they are two entirely different genres, but I think there is competition. I disagree with the other assessment (Vince's and HHH's views on the products not being competition). When both are in the Pay Per View world and the WWE is not in the traditional Pay Per View world as much as they used to be with their WWE network launching, but when you are looking for disposable income and all of us only have so much of that to go around, and you have to decide, of your disposable income, how much are you going to spend on entertainment; let's say a Pay Per View for example, and you've only got so much money to go around. Which Pay Per View do you buy? Do you buy a WWE event, or do you buy a UFC event? If you're going to go to a live event, again go back to the disposable income issue. You've only got so much money to go around to take your buddies, your mates, your family, your whatever to an event. Do you go watch WWE when it comes to your city? Or do you go watch UFC. You know some people are fortunate enough that they can afford to go to both, a lot of people aren't. So consequently I think in that respect, there is competition. I think a lot of old school pro wrestling fans – when wrestling was a little bit more steak then sizzle and had a different presentation – I think that a lot of those fans are now UFC fans and are more devotees to the UFC then they are of Pro Wrestling as they were back in the day. So I think a lot of displaced wrestling fans that are not as much fans of ‘Sports Entertainment' but they like the old school pro wrestling, I think a lot of those fans have faded to the UFC-MMA side and occasionally sample pro wrestling, but more often than not they're in the UFC."
On Ken Shamrock and if he had a rough run due to heat in the WWF/E: "Kenny was just coming into his own when he left, but Ken had not gotten the MMA out of his system. He was ready to re-engage and wanted to have some more fights and that's why he left the WWE. There was no underlying controversies or anything along those lines. He wanted to leave to go back to MMA because he thought he had unfinished business there and had some more fights in him and that was his first love. So that's why he left, but if he had stayed he would have been a major player during the Attitude Era, and my thought was that he was evolving very, very nicely. Ken is a really good, focused, tough guy and was just coming into his own when he decided to go back to the MMA world. So I enjoyed working with him. He was a tough guy and he didn't have to sit out because of a little nagging injury, he was always ready to roll. So he's the kinda guy you want in your locker room. Good guy but no controversy when he left, he just wanted to go back and take care of some unfinished business and go back to his first love, and as it worked out he just never made it back to the WWE. You know father time has a way of addressing some of those issues, but I enjoyed working with him."
On if JR has been approached about commentating on any MMA shows: "I have and you know we just haven't been able to come to terms. (There's) still ongoing talk about that. You know I'm working on a project now that may or may not happen. You know showbiz and contracts and lawyers, sports entities; you can't cash your money before the cheque's written. So yeah I've been contacted by several people, but the deal's not right. And when the deal's right I will give it a shot. I'd like to do the play by play for an MMA show at some point in my life time. (I) certainly feel like I'd do it, and if I only did one that'd be cool, but I'd like to try it. (It's) kinda on my bucket list of things I'd like to do, but thus far there are smaller groups and it just hasn't been in the cards yet. Not say it'll never happen, because my agent talks to somebody just about every day about some shape, form or fashion of that whole conversation."
On who wins an amateur wrestling match between Cain Velasquez and Jack Swagger: "Oh gosh that would be an interesting match because they're both, I'd say their skill sets are very, very comparable. I would probably have to lean toward Velasquez simply because of his higher finishes in the NCAA tournament then Swagger had, and that would be the only reason. Swagger was a two time all American, but he didn't in the nationals as high as Cain did, so based on that I would probably give Cain the nod over my fellow Oklahoman. I think it would be a very competitive contest without question."
JR talks about the truth on if the WWE wanted Steve Williams "Dr Death" to win the Brawl for it All and that Bart Gunn ruined their plans: "First of all, the Brawl for it All was a ridiculous creative idea. It should never have happened. A lot of guys got injured. It cause dissension amongst certain pockets of talent in the locker room which wasn't there before. The Brawl for it All was not designed for Dr Death to get over, it was designed for whoever won it to get over more, until someone had the brilliant idea that they wanted the winner to fight Butterbean – who was a professional boxer and a 4 round specialist – and then whoever would have won the Brawl for it All would have been knocked by Butterbean no matter who it was. It just happened to be Bart Gunn who was a reliable, good, dependable guy, and the tales of my leading his demise and him out of the company are somewhat misguided and exaggerated. You never want to run off someone that is no problem, that is a good performer, that is a great team player. You can't get too many of those guys, so it makes absolutely zero sense that I would ever wanna run Bart Gunn off of WWE. It was a creative idea that went awry, and a lot of guys got hurt, and at the end of the day it didn't mean a damn thing. It was absolutely a waste of time. And did we think that doc would have won it if it had been more MMA style? He had no experience at boxing, he was a wrestler. And when you put gloves on a wrestler – boxing gloves on a wrestler – you somewhat slow down their game. So that's kinda how I look at that deal."